Thursday, February 03, 2005

Some interesting facts about Shimane

So these are some stats I received in a weekly email I get from my JET advisors.

You should know that Shimane (my home) is one of the least populated prefectures in Japan - of the 47 kens (prefectures) in Japan, Shimane is ranked 45th or 46th in total population. Japan as a whole has about 127 million people, but Shimane has only about 800,000. That makes it one of the least densely populated kens with only about 112 people per square kilometer. The following stats spell out how many of that 800,000 are foreigners:

As of the 31st December 2004 there were 5797 foreigners registered as residents of Shimane. The greatest proportion of these were from China (2145), The Philippines (1146), Korea (988) and Brazil (723). Some other countries' totals include: US: 105, UK: 54, Canada: 38, Thailand: 31, Russia: 22, Australia: 16, New Zealand: 14, Ireland:7, Finland: 3,  Singapore: 2, and South Africa: 1.  Statistics submitted by Tim Mansfield.

The Brazil stat always takes me by surprise a bit - but I met a Brazilian woman trying to get her driver's license at the same time I got mine.
The overwhelming majority of American, British, Irish, Australian, Kiwi and Canadian people above are ALTs like myself. I know one of the Finnish people and one of the Singapore natives mentioned above as well as the solitary South African.

The other revelaing thing about these stats is you can see just how much our students trying to learn English get to practice speaking the language outside the classroom. They get almost zero opportunity to speak with any native speakers outside of school. No different than an American living in say, Minnesota, who's learning Japanese, but the homogeneity of Japan is still astonishing at times. It also explains why we as JETs often get stared at by people at the grocery store, etc.

Shimane has 122 JETs and Japan as a whole has about 6,000.

More info about Shimane can be found Here.



Emily Watkins said...

Oh, and I think we have more CIRs than any other prefecture. And I don't just mean CIRs per capita, I mean total CIRs. Bizarre, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Hiya Jason =)

Since you asked me about it earlier, my professor for Japanese Literature is Alan Tanzman, who is a relatively fun guy, but a little perverse. I did read Kokoro for the class (it was the first book, Naomi was the second), but I actually did not like it that much. For me, it felt almost incomplete. But I'm not really a fan of depressing literature anyways (sucks for me, 90% of japanese literature is depressing).